Pochettino puts PSG failure down to dealing with 'too much greatness' among star players

By Sports Desk November 13, 2022

Mauricio Pochettino believes he offered Paris Saint-Germain stability but the challenge proved a step too far after having to appease "too much greatness" within his squad.

PSG brought in Lionel Messi in August 2021, along with Achraf Hakimi, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Sergio Ramos, to join forces with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in the French capital.

A plethora of world-class talent was expected to help Pochettino's side to European glory, though they instead crashed out of the 2021-22 Champions League after a dramatic last-16 clash with eventual winners Real Madrid.

Pochettino and PSG subsequently parted ways in July 2022, with Christophe Galtier his replacement, and the Argentine has said balancing an abundance of superstar footballers was the greatest difficulty.

"You need to adapt constantly because there was too much greatness," Pochettino told Spanish outlet Relevo.

"For Barcelona to have Messi or for Madrid to count on Cristiano [Ronaldo] is a blessing. But when you put too many players on the pitch who all need their place and to be number one, there can be confusion.

"In the end, when you play, it's 11 players with only one ball. There was a penalty and who takes it? It's not even the manager's decision.

"Our ability [Pochettino and his coaching staff's] was that of being people who kept the consensus, who were flexible to give each person what they needed.

"The thing is each one needed something different with their circumstances, depending on how they were doing in sporting terms, in family terms, and so on.

"We gave cause for there to be certain stability at PSG this year and for the same pieces to be maintained."

PSG's recruitment has come under scrutiny in recent years, with their desire to assemble world football's biggest names coming at the detriment of both player happiness and defensive stability.

Mbappe's time at PSG with Pochettino was filled with transfer speculation, the forward signing a bumper three-year extension after it appeared increasingly likely he would wait for a move to Madrid.

Former Tottenham boss Pochettino suggested he did not even know Mbappe was going to sign fresh terms just hours before PSG announced the news.

"They asked me in a news conference if I saw myself with Mbappe at PSG and I said yes because he had a year left on his contract," he added.

"[Carlo] Ancelotti [once] said that thing about how managers can't say the truth.

"Kylian was always calm, he always told me that he hadn't taken a decision. I knew what everyone [else] knew. He told me: 'Mister, I haven't taken the decision.' I insisted: 'But tell me if you've signed, it can stay a secret.' 'Mister, I haven't signed anything,' he replied. 'Are you going to stay?' 'I don't know.' 'Are you going to leave?' 'I don't know.'

"And like that until the end. I don't know what happened afterwards, I only found out a few hours before the announcement was made at the final match [of the season]."

Related items

  • Page sacked as Wales manager Page sacked as Wales manager

    Wales have sacked manager Rob Page following the country's failure to qualify for Euro 2024.

    The 49-year-old was initially given the job on an interim basis in November 2020, taking over from Ryan Giggs, before being appointed permanently in September 2022.

    Page took charge of 45 games for the national team, winning 15 of those matches.

    He oversaw the team at two major tournaments, reaching the round of 16 at Euro 2020, and led Wales to the World Cup for the first time in 64 years, though they exited in the group stage after earning only one point.

    Wales were agonisingly short of qualifying for a third consecutive European Championships, losing on penalties to Poland in their play-off final in March.

    Despite being backed by the Football Association of Wales (FAW) following that result, Page then came under heavy criticism following a goalless draw with minnows Gibraltar and a 4-0 thrashing by Slovakia in their June friendlies, leading to his contract being terminated.

  • Romeu named new head coach of Barcelona Femeni Romeu named new head coach of Barcelona Femeni

    Barcelona have announced Pere Romeu as their new head coach following Jonatan Giraldez's departure.

    Romeu, who was an assistant coach at the club in the last three seasons, has signed a two-year contract until 2026.

    The 30-year-old takes over following a successful season for Barcelona in which they won the quadruple, lifting the Champions League, Liga F, Copa de la Reina and the Supercopa de Espana Femenia.

    Giraldez had confirmed in December 2023 that he would be leaving the club at the end of the campaign, and it was announced in January he would be joining NWSL club Washington Spirit.

    "I have been with the team for three seasons, and I know their day-to-day life. I'm 100 per cent ready," Romeu said in his first interview as head coach.

    Romeu coached in Barcelona men's youth set-up between 2017 and 2020 before joining Romanian side Viitorul Constanta as an assistant coach before making the move back to Catalonia to join Barcelona Femeni in 2021.

  • Messi magic 'awful' for Canada, but amazing to witness, says Marsch Messi magic 'awful' for Canada, but amazing to witness, says Marsch

    Lionel Messi continues to amaze Canada head coach Jesse Marsch after inspiring Argentina to victory in the opening game of the Copa America.

    World champions Argentina triumphed 2-0 over Canada in Atlanta, making an impressive start to their title defence in the tournament.

    Messi had a hand in both goals as Julian Alvarez and Lautaro Martinez struck in the second half on Thursday.

    The Martinez goal saw Messi rack up his 17th Copa America assist. Since 2011, he has registered over three times as many goals created as any other player in the competition, with Angel Di Maria and Alexis Sanchez ranking second on five each.

    Messi turns 37 on Monday, and has a stunning 20-year professional career under his belt, but that does not mean he does not continue to stun and surprise his opponents, including Marsch.

    Marsch felt his team did what they could to remain compact, but Messi, who created a game-leading five chances, proved the difference on his record-breaking 35th Copa appearance.

     

    The Canada boss explained the task of having to face Messi was amazing and awful in equal measure, with the forward having a massive impact even though the coach felt his gameplan to try and limit the Argentina star had been implemented reasonably well.

    "Yeah, with Messi we talked a lot about our compactness and then identifying the spaces that he likes to show up in," Marsch said after the game.

    "We talked about not diving in because it's hard to win tackles from him.

    "What happens is if you eliminate yourself or if you start diving in for tackles, he's really good slipping and moving and getting back again and making little final plays.

    "This is what I say about Messi: I have coached against him several times and I feel like we have had a good match plan and we have executed a lot of good things.

    "But he is so good, he is that good that he still makes plays. The two balls he makes on the two goals I think are world class. 

    "Amazing, it's awful. It's amazing."

    Inter Miami star Messi had a game-leading six shots, getting three of them on target, and also led the match for touches in the opponent's box (nine) in an all-action display.

    Despite the challenge of facing Messi, Canada captain Alphonso Davies felt his side should have done more to follow up on a battling first-half performance that meant the game goalless at half-time.

    "We have to change our attitude towards the game," Davies said to TSN.

    "The first half we played well, but in the second half we let every long ball bounce. 

    "It was a disappointing result, we need to look at everything we did wrong in the game and fix it as soon as possible."

    Argentina return to action against Chile on Tuesday, which is also when Canada will hope to pick up their first points of the campaign against Peru.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.